Creative Commons for Educators and Librarians

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The figures are eye-opening: more than 1.6 billion works on 9 million websites are licensed under Creative Commons (CC). These materials constitute an extraordinarily rich repository for teaching, learning, sharing, and creative reuse. Knowing your way around CC will help you make the most of the Open Access (OA) and open educational resources (OER) movements. This book represents the first-ever print complement to the CC Certificate program, providing in-depth coverage of CC licenses, open practices, and the ethos of the Commons. Inside readers will find guidance on

  • the layers and elements of CC licenses, with clear explanations on how they interact;
  • reusing, revising, and remixing;
  • how to acknowledge the underlying work in a remix;
  • techniques for locating works in the public domain and communicating their value;
  • supporting learners’ access to a wide array of open knowledge resources in primary, secondary, and higher education;
  • assessing institutional policies for open education, plus advice on revising these policies;
  • ways to adapt existing openly licensed materials in order to keep your institution’s knowledge base relevant and up to date;
  • how to meet the open licensing requirements increasingly present in government and foundation grants and contracts; and
  • hundreds of authoritative resources for additional learning.

This book is published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license; digital versions are available for download at Creative Commons web page Certificate Resources (CC BY).

List of Creative Commons Licenses

Chapter 1    What Is Creative Commons?
1.1    The Story of Creative Commons
1.2    Creative Commons Today
1.3    Additional Resources

Chapter 2    Copyright Law
2.1    Copyright Basics
2.2    Global Aspects of Copyright
2.3    The Public Domain
2.4    Exceptions and Limitations of Copyright
2.5    Additional Resources

Chapter 3    Anatomy of a Creative Commons License
3.1    License Design and Terminology
3.2    License Scope
3.3    License Types
3.4    License Enforceability
3.5    Additional Resources

Chapter 4    Using Creative Commons Licenses and Creative Commons-Licensed Works
4.1    Choosing and Applying a CC License
4.2    Things to Consider after CC Licensing
4.3    Finding and Reusing CC-Licensed Works
4.4    Remixing CC-Licensed Works
4.5    Additional Resources

Chapter 5    Creative Commons for Librarians and Educators
5.1    Open Access to Scholarship
5.2    Open Pedagogy and Practices
5.3    OER, Open Textbooks, Open Courses
5.4    Finding, Evaluating, and Adapting Open Resources
5.5    Creating and Sharing OER
5.6    Opening Up Your Institution
5.7    Additional Resources


Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a global nonprofit organization that enables sharing and reuse of creativity and knowledge through the provision of free legal tools. Its legal tools help those who want to encourage reuse of their works by offering them for use under generous, standardized terms; those who want to make creative uses of works; and those who want to benefit from this symbiosis. The vision of CC is to help others realize the full potential of the internet. Learn more at

"Creative Commons licenses are a brilliant idea and an excellent fit for academia, where sharing knowledge and receiving credit are far more important than making a profit from one’s work. Hopefully guides like this one will encourage more teachers and researchers to use CC licenses on their works and enable truly efficient knowledge sharing."

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